Saturday, May 16, 2015

Sister Queens


Rating: 5 Stars


This is quite easily the best biography I've read so far about Katherine. Perhaps that's because she's presented fully as her own person from childhood, sharing the page only with her sister and not Henry's subsequent wives.

Prior to this book, I knew nothing of Juana except that she was crazy. How wrong I was. Juana has been done a terrible injustice and this text does well to clear her name. That's not to say she wasn't shrewd or even manipulative, but certainly not 'mad'.

Heartbreaking is really the only way to describe the lives of these two women. Katherine's story is one I know well - at least from the time she arrived in England as Arthur's intended bride. I can't imagine being separated from my daughter, and yet she endured. What choice did she have? Is it then any wonder that Mary became the monarch she did? This should surprise no one.

Juana, on the other hand, is equally as heartbreaking a story. Manipulated and discredited by both her husband and father so they could steal the throne that was rightfully hers, then all but forgotten by an indifferent son, the Holy Roman Emperor Charles - who in turn championed his aunt Katherine's cause for so long.

This is a beautifully told story, one I could hardly put down. Here are two women who history has not been kind to, finally getting the recognition they are due, having their stories told based on contemporary writings from those close to them. It is a compelling story, highly recommended and well worth the time.

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